There are certain projects that give you that distinct feeling of satisfaction in the kitchen. Making your first layer cake. Churning homemade ice cream. Making macarons with the perfect feet.
And homemade sausages.
The very first time I made sausages at home, I felt like Rocky, hands in the air, running up those marble steps. And the truth is, I feel like that every time I twist the final link of homemade sausage. It’s one of those projects that always give you such a feeling of accomplishment. I can’t say the same for the umpteenth batch of homemade ice cream or even the perfectly frosted layer cake (which I still find challenging). Somehow, when I make sausages, I just want to put it on a silver platter, hold it in the air, and yell out: “I made that!”
As rewarding as homemade sausage is to make, the thing is this: it’s not hard at all! Join me in making some Sriracha Chicken Sausage, and you’ll see. There are some tricks that make it easier, but once you make sausages from scratch, you’ll be hooked, and want to come up with all sorts of interesting flavors.
You’ll start with…yes, you guessed it, chicken.
Opt for chicken thighs, as chicken breast will be too lean and dry for sausage. And here’s the major tip to make your sausage making easier: freeze the chicken and keep it cold throughout the process. This makes for easier slicing and it will pass through the meat grinder better.
You’re going to grind the chicken twice, so for the first pass, use the course grinder and grind the chicken. Push with the tamper and in minutes, you will have ground chicken!
Place the ground chicken into the freezer to chill. Meantime, gather all your seasonings. Dry spices work best so your sausage doesn’t get soggy, but some fresh ingredients are good in small doses. In this recipe, I actually use quite a generous helping of sriracha to give the sausage a healthy dose of spice, as well as some fresh cilantro.
Season the ground chicken, mixing well with the flat beater attachment of the KitchenAid® Stand Mixer, and pass it through the KitchenAid® Food Grinder again, this time using the finer grinding plate.
Now, take a bit of the sausage mixture and fry it in the frying pan. Give it a taste. Adjust the seasoning if necessary, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator, ideally overnight, to allow the flavors to marinate.
Now it’s time to switch up the attachments. Insert the KitchenAid® Sausage Stuffer Kit; if you want standard sized sausages, use the larger tube, if you want breakfast sausages, use the smaller one.
Wash the hog casing in cold water, rinsing it well of any salt, and passing water through it. Let it soak in cold water for about 30 minutes.
Oil the tube of the sausage stuffer with a little vegetable oil, then guide the casing on, pushing it to the base of the attachment. Push all the casing through, then make sure to make a knot at the end, or tie it with string.
Now it’s time for the fun.
Stuff the casing with the chicken, with the KitchenAid® Stand Mixer on medium speed (about a setting of 4). Make sure the chicken is evenly packed into the casing.
Tie a knot on the other side of the sausage and trim away any unused casing. If there are any air bubbles in the sausage, use a toothpick or clean needle to release the air.
So, what about those links? Well, all you have to do is measure out the length of sausage you would like and twist! Twist the sausage at least three times and you’ll have links. You can also tie each link off with string, if you prefer.
If the weather or your kitchen is cold enough, you can hang the sausages to dry, but to be safe, I prefer to place the sausages in the refrigerator to let the casings dry. Place it on a rack, or some paper towels, if that helps.
The sausages can be kept in the refrigerator for 1-2 days, or frozen. Or, if you’re like me, grill them up the same day, and enjoy!
Sriracha Chicken Sausage
Makes 12 servings
3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
5 tablespoons sriracha
3 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, leaves only, finely chopped
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 yard of hog casing, soaked and rinsed in cold water
Freeze chicken for about 1 hour before handling. This makes it easier to slice and grind the meat throughout the sausage making process. Slice chicken into 1 inch cubes and freeze for about 1 hour before grinding. Grind with the course grinding plate of the KitchenAid® Food Grinder. Return to freezer.
In the bowl of the KitchenAid® Stand Mixer, add the sriracha, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, ground coriander, white pepper, celery salt, cilantro, and rice vinegar, and incorporate into the ground chicken using the flat beater.
Grind the meat a second time, using the fine grinding plate.
Check seasonings by frying a tiny portion in a pan. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
Cover the chicken mixture tightly and refrigerate overnight.
Soak the casing in cold water for 30 minutes and rinse. Place the KitchenAid® Sausage Stuffer Kit on the KitchenAid® Stand Mixer, using the larger stuffer for standard sized sausages. Lightly brush on a little vegetable oil on the stuffer, then place one end of the casing onto the Sausage Stuffer Kit, and gather it at the base of the attachment. Tie a knot or use string to secure the end of the casing. Stuff the casing with the sausage mixture, by guiding it through the attachment, making sure the chicken mixture is packed consistently into the casing, but not over stuffed. Knot the other end and use a toothpick or needle to release any air bubbles in the casing. Create links by gathering about 6 inches of the sausage and twisting at least three times. You can also use string and tie the links if it is easier. Allow to dry on a rack for about 30 minutes in a cool environment or in the refrigerator, or until casings are dry to the touch. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
Grill or pan fry the sausages for about 15-20 minutes or until browned on all sides and cooked thoroughly. Enjoy!
*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*